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For the Harissa*:
  • 2 roasted red peppers, peeled and seeded
  • 6 Guajillo dried chili peppers, seeded and stemmed
  • 6 New Mexican dried chili peppers, seeded and stemmed
  • 1 teaspoon each coriander seed, cumin seed, caraway seed, fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
For the Chicken:
  • 1 4-pound chicken, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Garnishes:
  • Garnishes:
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • Toasted sliced or slivered almonds
  • Scallions, thinly sliced on a bias


Serves: 2


Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a saucepot, cover dried chilis in a cup or so of water and simmer to soften, about 30 minutes. Toast coriander, cumin, caraway and fennel seeds in a dry skillet then grind them in a spice mill/grinder.  Purée softened peppers in a food processor with 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, salt, olive oil, garlic and the juice of 1 lemon. Reserve.

Slather chicken halves with half the Harissa sauce.  Marinate the chicken overnight.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Shake excess marinade off the chicken and place both pieces in the pan skin-side down. Place a second skillet on top of the chicken to weigh it down. Brown chicken 10-12 minutes to crisp skin, flip chicken, add cut lemon to pan and transfer skillet to oven.  Roast chicken for 20 minutes to an internal temperature of 165°F.

Serve with extra sauce and top with juice of caramelized lemon, cilantro, almonds and scallions on top. 

(For 3 or 4 servings, cook two chickens by transferring 1 to 2 chicken halves to a baking sheet once the skin has browned and roast chicken in the skillet and the chicken on a baking sheet on separate shelves until both reach temperature.)
*Harissa will keep about 3 weeks covered in the refrigerator.